The Eagles had gone quiet since signing a slew of free
agents within hours of free agency opening on Tuesday, but by no means were
they finished. The front office was active again on Thursday, agreeing to terms
with two more pieces for their rebuilding secondary: cornerback Cary Williams
and safety Kenny Phillips.
Williams’ contract is for three years, and it will be
expected that he be one of the players who fills the void left on the outside
by the departures of Nnamdi Asomugha (released) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
(signed w/ Broncos). A seventh-round pick by the Titans in ’08, the 28 year old
spent the last four years with the Baltimore Ravens, who he just helped to a
Super Bowl title.
Williams became a starting corner in 2011, playing in every
game for the Ravens over the past two seasons. He finished with four
interceptions and 17 passes defended in ’12, and was considered one of the more
attractive options on the market.
It sounds like a nice addition for the Birds. Williams has good
size and is physical. While he’s not a shutdown guy, at three years the
organization wasn’t forced to over-commit. At the very least, he fills a major
need, giving the organization one reliable cornerback for sure heading into
Phillips you may be familiar with from his time on the New
York Giants. He was the team’s first-round selection out of Miami back in ’08,
starting 42 games in five seasons there. The 26 year old has tremendous talent,
but the problem has always been staying healthy. While he managed to play in 31
of 32 possible games between ’10 and ’11, he only appeared in seven last year,
and missed all but two in ’09.
It’s a one-year deal, so there is essentially no risk for
the Eagles. If he is recovered from the sprain MCL that gave him trouble last
season, and he can stay on the field, he has a chance to make a major impact.
Phillips has eight interceptions and one forced fumble in his career.
Another strong acquisition for a secondary desperately in
need of help. Phillips is an instant and significant improvement over the
current crop of safeties, but without the huge contract. The downside is if he
has a great season, they could lose him next Spring already, but then they may
be looking to the draft for safety help as well.
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